Europe Region Busy

For those of us in the AAPG European Region, 2011 began where 2010 left off – very busy.

♦We were excited to run two short courses at the Paris VI University in France with some excellent presentations from Sylvie Leroy and Gianreto Manatschal on rift basin geology, and Jean-Luc Rudkiewicz and Eugenii Burov, presenting on basin modelling.

These courses, which ran at the end of January and were very well attended by both students and the industry, got our European Education Program 2011 off to a really good start.

Big crowds and plenty of deals were once again part of the annual London APPEX.
Big crowds and plenty of deals were once again part of the annual London APPEX.

Our thanks must also go to the university for the facilities they provided, and to AAPG member François Roure and Christian Gorini for their help behind the scenes, over a typically European cool winters couple of days!

We plan to run a similar event in January 2012, so please watch the AAPG Europe website for further details.

♦In February we ran a course on “Resource Classification,” comparing the United Nations Framework Classification system to the more widely known and used (in our industry) PMRS.

Over 50 delegates from the Industry attended the two-day conference, which was held at the Royal Society of Arts in central London.

♦Two short courses then bookended our annual APPEX Conference and Exhibition in March – and the speakers for the short courses were the two candidates for AAPG president-elect, Ted Beaumont and John Dolson.

APPEX, under the chairmanship of Mike Lakin, was another great success, attracting over 550 delegates, more than 65 booths and an excellent conference program. The keynote speakers were past AAPG president Marlan Downey, Andrew Lodge from Premier Oil and Jens Olsen from TGS Nopec, and we opened to a packed auditorium.

The audience was very cosmopolitan and showed that APPEX has truly become the only international A&D forum of its caliber.

It is always nice to receive compliments and even nicer when those participants put it in writing:

  • “As a financier of oil and gas, APPEX allows me to keep updated on the current ‘hot’ exploration plays and to initiate contacts with the people who may discover the next Mahogany,” said Sebastien Renaud from BNP Paribas, France.
  • Thorarinn Arnarson from the National Energy Authority of Iceland was equally ebullient, saying, “We received a number of important visitors to our booth and made good contacts. (APPEX is) the right place to be for introducing license rounds.”

The dates for APPEX2012 are March 6-8, so please put it in your diary – and we welcome your participation as a speaker, attendee or exhibitor.


This brings us to one of the highlights of our year: the AAPG Imperial Barrel Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the annual competition is open to universities with a geoscience degree program – and this year the European Region had 17 teams enter the competition.

The university enters teams of five students and a faculty adviser, and they all are invited to Prague in the middle of March to make their presentations to a group of eight senior industry judges.

Our thanks go to our judges, all of whom gave up their time to meet, encourage and judge our 17 teams. This year they were Bernie South from ExxonMobil; Luc Bolle from Baker Hughes; Jason Canning from BG Group; Steve Flack from Nexen; Stuart Lake from Hess; Steve Maddox from Maersk; Rod Nourse from Shell; and Alina Tulucan from OMV Petrom.

The winning European Region team was from the University of Southampton, with the IFP School from France coming second, and the University of Lisbon third – a fantastic competition with great camaraderie, professionalism and dedication coming from all our teams.

The Southampton team went on to the finals in Houston in April where they came second in another close contest (see related story ).

You can see a video of the European competition at our website.


By the time you read this we will have completed our annual Education Week, held in May in Aberdeen, Scotland, participated in the Tutkovsky Lectures in Kiev, Ukraine, also in May, and offered a series of short courses and GTWs (see our website for latest details). Looking further ahead, we will be part of a joint conference and exhibition with the Morrocan Association of Petroleum Geologists in October.


Finally, this month Dave Cook is stepping down from his position as president of the AAPG European Region, to be succeeded by Vlasta Dvorakova for her three-year presidency. All those who have worked or come into contact with Dave respect his knowledge and professionalism, and we all thank him for what he has done for the AAPG European Region over the last three years.

We all wish him well – and insist he keep in contact, as his voice and encouragement will always be welcome.

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The presence of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones within the Eocene of the Forties area was first documented in 1985, when a Forties field (Paleocene) development well discovered the Brimmond field. Further hydrocarbons in the Eocene were discovered in the adjacent Maule field in 2009. Reservoir geometry derived from three-dimensional seismic data has provided evidence for both a depositional and a sand injectite origin for the Eocene sandstones. The Brimmond field is located in a deep-water channel complex that extends to the southeast, whereas the Maule field sandstones have the geometry of an injection sheet on the updip margin of the Brimmond channel system with a cone-shape feature emanating from the top of the Forties Sandstone Member (Paleocene). The geometry of the Eocene sandstones in the Maule field indicates that they are intrusive and originated by the fluidization and injection of sand during burial. From seismic and borehole data, it is unclear whether the sand that was injected to form the Maule reservoir was derived from depositional Eocene sandstones or from the underlying Forties Sandstone Member. These two alternatives are tested by comparing the heavy mineral and garnet geochemical characteristics of the injectite sandstones in the Maule field with the depositional sandstones of the Brimmond field and the Forties sandstones of the Forties field.

The study revealed significant differences between the sandstones in the Forties field and those of the Maule and Brimmond fields), both in terms of heavy mineral and garnet geochemical data. The Brimmond-Maule and Forties sandstones therefore have different provenances and are genetically unrelated, indicating that the sandstones in the Maule field did not originate by the fluidization of Forties sandstones. By contrast, the provenance characteristics of the depositional Brimmond sandstones are closely comparable with sandstone intrusions in the Maule field. We conclude that the injectites in the Maule field formed by the fluidization of depositional Brimmond sandstones but do not exclude the important function of water from the huge underlying Forties Sandstone Member aquifer as the agent for developing the fluid supply and elevating pore pressure to fluidize and inject the Eocene sand. The study has demonstrated that heavy mineral provenance studies are an effective method of tracing the origin of injected sandstones, which are increasingly being recognized as an important hydrocarbon play.

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Data derived from core and well-logs are essentially one-dimensional and determining eolian system type and likely dimensions and orientation of architectural elements present in subsurface eolian reservoir successions is typically not possible from direct observation alone. This is problematic because accurate predictions of the three-dimensional distribution of interdune and dune-plinth elements that commonly form relatively low-permeability baffles to flow, of net:gross, and of the likely distribution of elements with common porosity-permeability properties at a variety of scales in eolian reservoirs is crucial for effective reservoir characterization.

Direct measurement of a variety of parameters relating to aspects of the architecture of eolian elements preserved as ancient outcropping successions has enabled the establishment of a series of empirical relationships with which to make first-order predictions of a range of architectural parameters from subsurface successions that are not observable directly in core. In many preserved eolian dune successions, the distribution of primary lithofacies types tends to occur in a predictable manner for different types of dune sets, whereby the pattern of distribution of grain-flow, wind-ripple, and grain-fall strata can be related to set architecture, which itself can be related back to original bedform type.

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